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Another very encouraging performance from Wexford FC in their third pre-season friendly game of the year, Brian O'Sullivan's side coming away with a draw against Premier Division side St.Patrick's Athletic in Dublin this afternoon. Goalkeeper Tom Murphy and midfielder Malike Benrouguibi missed the game through injury although both are expected to return to action in the next few weeks. 

Colum Feeney started in goal, Dan Tobin and new signing James Carroll named as centre backs alongside Karl Fitzsimons (right back) and Kristian Crawford (left back). Conor Crowley and captain Cian Kavanagh partnered in central midfield, new signing Kaleem Simon and Azeez Yusuff were on the wings while Patrick O'Sullivan played just behind frontman Conor English.

The first chance of the game fell to Wexford in the 2nd minute, Patrick O'Sullivan crossing into Conor English from the right wing, the Kilkenny striker's first time shot drifting wide of the far post. English had another great chance to open the scoring in the 15th minute, Cian Kavanagh winning the ball in the Wexford half and sending the striker through on goal with a precise pass, Clarke in the Pat's goal getting a strong hand to English's left foot shot to knock it out for a corner. The Saint's had their first real attempt on goal from the Wexford corner, breaking away with a swift counter attack ending with a right foot shot by Doona which went wide of Feeney's left hand post. The Dublin side had their best spell after that, keeping possession well but Wexford kept their shape.

Forrester forced a good save from Feeney on the half hour mark, the Wexford keeper batting a powerful left foot shot away for a corner. Three minutes later and the young keeper was again called into action, this time Bermingham with a decent long distance effort. With five minutes of the first half remaining James Carroll intercepted a pass just outside the Wexford box and then picked out a lovely pass to English who was once again through on goal. This time the Pat's defenders got back in time but could only drag the striker down on the edge of the box. Cian Kavanagh tested Clarke once more from the resulting free kick, his right foot shot clearing the wall but the Saint's keeper was quick across his goal to save.

Scoreless at the break.

Brian O'Sullivan made several changes for the second half, Charlie Smith, Craig Giles, Sean Roche and Liam Berry replacing Azeez Yusuff, Cian Kavanagh, Kristian Crawford and Patrick O'Sullivan. St.Pat's replaced every outfield player for the second 45. It was a much quieter half in terms of chances created. Despite the changes Wexford continued to look solid throughout and apart from a shot from distance by Benson, Feeney was relatively untroubled, James Carroll and Dan Tobin marshalling the defence superbly. In fact Wexford finished the game with the two best chances of the half. With five minutes remaining Charlie Smith showed quick feet to get away from deep in his own half, passing to Conor Crowley who broke quickly into the Saint's half. The midfielder passed to Conor English on the wing and the sweeping move continued to Kaleem Simon who raced by the last man and fired at goal, Clarke again with a good stop at his left hand post for a Wexford corner. The Dubliners cleared the corner but only as far as Karl Fitzsimons who sent back a teasing cross from the left wing. Kaleem Simon was first to the ball, taking a touch to get away from a defender with the goal now at his mercy. Unfortunately the touch was a little heavy and he couldn't get a good connection on the shot, Clarke out quickly to gather the ball, the chance for a late winner gone.

So, a draw it finished, Brian O'Sullivan and Wexford fans very satisfied after a good day's work in the capital. The team will be back at the same venue next week for another pre-season friendly, this time on Saturday afternoon, Bohemians the opponents. Another big test ahead.

Wexford FC: Feeney, Fitzsimons, Tobin, Carroll, Crawford, Crowley, Kavanagh (c), Yusuff, Simon, O'Sullivan and English.  Subs: Trialist 1, Roche, Giles, Smith, Berry, Amour and Costello.

St.Patrick's Athletic: Clarke, Feely, McNally, Trialist 1, Bermingham, Lennon, Forrester, Doona, Markey, Hale and Walker.  Subs: Maher, Kearns, Cleary, Griffin, Desmond, Ward, Benson, McClelland, King and Rennie.

 

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